Art · Surface Treatment Workshop

Surface Treatment Workshop – Week 17

Welcome to week 17 of the Surface Treatment Workshop. This weeks workshop was focusing on using sponges and art foam. I used just sponges. They were just ordinary flat square washing up sponges you buy from the supermarket. I cut them into wavy shapes and stamped them onto painted backgrounds…

Week 17 - Sponges & Art Foam - 1 - NB

Week 17 - Sponges & Art Foam - 2 - NB

Week 17 - Sponges & Art Foam - 3 - NB

Week 17 - Sponges & Art Foam - 4 - NB

I created several layers of colour with my sponge shapes. It’s a very basic technique but it can create some lovely textures and patterns….

Art · Surface Treatment Workshop

Surface Treatment Workshop – Week 11

This weeks Surface Treatment Workshop is about using drawing grounds – ie. clear gesso, absorbent ground or pastel ground. Out of these three I only had clear gesso so that’s what I used. Drawing grounds are used to add tooth to an uneven surface like a collage that’s made up from glossy items and matte items, it kind of “evens” out the surface.

So I started this weeks workshop by collaging two thick pieces of paper. I then covered them with my drawing ground  – the clear gesso. I did actually mix my clear gesso with just a tiny bit of white gesso, just to very slightly tone down my collage a bit. I left it to dry. Then comes the interesting bit – what to put on top. The book gave only three prompts for this – add thin washes of colour, drawing on the surface or a combination of both. I did a combination of both…

Week 11 - Drawing Grounds - Fish - NB
Fish drawn & painted over clear gesso

On my first collage I decided I wanted to draw a fish. I don’t know why, I just did! So I did practice a couple of times on a separate piece of paper first and then drew my very simple fish above. I painted it over with watercolour paint but it looked a bit dull – I think that has to do with the clear gesso. It needed a bit of bling… so out came the pearl mica! I overlaid the watercolour with thin washes of complementary shades of pearl mica. You can click the images to view them larger…

Week 11 - Fish Macro - NB

Above is a macro view of the fish. You can see the shimmer of the pearl mica and also the texture of the clear gesso over my collage. I photographed this image using a 60mm macro lens at f/2.8 and made sure there was backlighting to get that lovely bokeh (the sparkly out of focus bit top and bottom)!

My second collage ended up like this:

Week 11 - Drawing Grounds - Portals - NB
Portals Into Another World

I didn’t have any clear idea of what I wanted to draw on this one but I like circles, so I started by drawing some circles. Then came some lines and then I filled in with some colour, which I overlaid with some washes of pearl mica. It ended up looking a little “other worldly” so I called it Portals Into Another World…

Here’s a couple of macro views:

Week 11 - Portals Macro - NB
“Portals”, a macro view

Above you can see the shimmer of the pearl mica and texture of the clear gesso.  Below is a fun macro shot just because I love bokeh and blur…

Week 11 - Portals Macro 2 - NB
“Portals”, a macro view

Both of my samples for this week measure 13 cm x 10 cm and I have stuck them into my dedicated STW sketchbook. As is often the case, both these samples look better in reality than they do photographed! My sister Carolyn should be posting her samples from last week and this week soon,  so please do pop over and have a look… ! In next week’s workshop we are using Metal Leaf – I’ve never used this before so I’ve no idea what I’m going to do with it but I’m up for the challenge…

Art · Surface Treatment Workshop

Surface Treatment Workshop – Week 2

Welcome to Week 2 of the Surface Treatment Workshop. The focus for week 2 is stencils. In preparing my samples for this week I made a discovery… a personal discovery… ! I’ve discovered that I don’t actually like frilly, flowery, fussy, swirly stencil patterns. I can appreciate them in other peoples work, other people can make them look lovely, but I don’t like them in my own work…

Having discovered this I now had to completely rethink what I’m going to produce for this weeks workshop. What I’ve also discovered is that I do like  simple shapes, lines and patterns and that unique, individual home made stencils are the way forward…

week-2-simple-squares-nb

For the above sample I used cut out paper shapes as stencils to create simple lines and squares…

week-2-polka-dot-divide-nb

For this image I used a Large Polka Dot stencil. Here we have several different versions of the same stencil layered over each other. Next, how both these images appear in my sketchbook:

week-2-sketchbook-nb

Next another polka dot design – just simple circles. In the centre is a small photo of a piece of my own art work – it has a circle theme which complemented the polka dots…

week-2-decreasing-circles-nb

For the next sample I made a homemade paper stencil. I used thick glossy paper, cut my stencil out and used it several times to create the design below. When I finished with the stencil I cut it up and stuck it over my design to add more wavy lines and colour. I finished by outlining some of the pattern with gold acrylic paint. The photograph below doesn’t really do the art work justice, the reality is much better – however, this was one of the best photos I got!

week-2-stencil-wavy-lines-nb

What I’ve taken away from this exercise is that I’m now determined to be a lot more picky about what commercially available stencils I buy. And I’m going to do a lot more home made stencils. OK, paper stencils are “use once-throw away” stencils but you do get a unique, original design that nobody else in the world has – that’s something that appeals to me. I have already made some home made stencils from acetate sheet – they are reusable and totally original!

For week 3 of the Surface Treatment Workshop the focus is on aluminium foil. I’ve personally never used aluminium foil in art before, so this will be a little voyage of discovery for me… !